Quick! How do you come up quickly and easily with the contenders in 7-furlong races? By looking for horses with the highest 7-furlong speed numbers in their past performances. That works surprisingly well because 7-furlongs is a specialist distance that seems to fit a limited number of horses.

Look at how well that worked in races Saturday at Woodbine and at Century Mile in Edmonton. There was only one 7-furlong race at Woodbine but it came in the important last race which features a jackpot hi-5. What horses finished first and second? Yes, the logical horses with the highest and second-highest speed numbers: #10 Muskoka Giant, a 3-1 morning line horse, and #4 Trigger’s Bay, at 10-1 in the morning line. Their highest 7-furlong Equibase speed numbers were 94 and 82 respectively — and those two horses finished well ahead in the field. And get a load of the $2 exactor: it paid $59.10 for $2.

And who was third? Four horses had speed numbers in the mid-70s: #2 Hip to Your Tricks (76), #7 Anselmo (75), #8 Collaborative (77) and #11 Moonquest (77). The third-place finisher was #7 at 18-1. So your $1 triactor wheel could have been 10 with 4 with 2, 7, 8 and 11. Your $4 investment would have earned you $257.85.

Now let’s look at Century Mile with three races at that distance, although all of them were close and you needed to take the top two. In race 2, the horse that had 71 (#3) beat the horse that had 73 (#1). In two legs of the pick-5, two horses had 51 in race 5 (one which won) and, in race 6, the horse with 72 beat the horse with 74. But look at how close the speed figures were. That narrowed down your pick-5 to a minimal 20-cent wheel that paid $149.91.

Recalling the $25,000 my betting partner won in a Woodbine pick-5 is all the motivation one needs to check the highest speed numbers in 7-furlong races. At that race distance, my partner handicapped the race to bet the “best” horse in the race but added the horse with the highest 7-furlong speed figure simply because of the rule — and that’s the horse that helped deliver the small fortune. A rule is a rule. Got a similar tale?

$2 ticket takes down $135K jackpot pick-6 at Woodbine

A 20-cent wheel costing just $2 USD took down Sunday’s Power Pick-6 jackpot pool of $135,769 USD at Woodbine, reports the track’s communications manager, Mark McKelvie. “The winner is from the Elite Turf Club hub,” he told Bettor’s Edge. The wheel, which looked like this — 8/7/7/1/3,11/2,4,6,7,10 — wasn’t, on the face of it, a difficult sequence. The first two legs were won by favourites and there were no extreme longshots. Even the two usually-tricky non-winners of two races condition were won by “rule” horses. Leg four was won by a big class dropper and leg 6 was won by a pace-setter.

Starting in race 9, here are the race conditions and payoffs for each leg: Race 9 maiden special weight paid $4, race 10 allowance optional claimer paid $9, race 11 maiden special weight paid $11.30, race 12 non-winners of two lifetime paid $13.20, race 13 maiden claimer paid $9.90 and race 14 non-winners of two lifetime paid $18.30. The biggest jackpot now at the track is the jackpot super hi-5 on the last race of each card with a carryover of more than $204K heading into Thursday’s card. U.S. players are on a roll winning Woodbine’s jackpot pools; will this pool finally be taken down by a Canadian?

First leg of Western Canadian Triple Crown just a week away

A week from tonight the winner of the $125,000 Manitoba Derby will be hoping for a $100,000 bonus by winning the Canadian Derby at Century Mile and the B.C. Derby at Hastings as well. My money already is on Robertino Diodoro, a former Calgary hockey player, who is one of the top trainers in the U.S. In the past decade, he’s been among the top half-dozen race winners six times. And, having won the Manitoba Derby four times and gone on to win in Alberta and B.C., you can bet he’ll be sending in the muscle to sweep all three to collect the bonus. The Derby draw happens at a media luncheon at the Downs on Thursday. You can check out the early nominations here.

In the meantime, ASD has three race cards tonight through Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. which likely will end with a $600,000 carryover to the mandatory jackpot pick-5 payout on Derby Day. The track’s two online handicappers, Kirt and Stretch, flipped their success roles this past week: Kirt’s suggested wagers made $559.15 while Stretch lost $454.85. Each predicted seven of the 21 winners. Kirt showed the value of making big place wagers: $50 to place netted him $187.50 in one race and $155 in another. That’s a play that rarely comes to mind — but there it was, serving as a money-making example.